photography & media

PAIN on the WALL


Drs. Kitty van Loo.

We are looking at portraits of people. Their diacritical signs have been affected.


The motives for this defacement are unknown, yet the fragmentary remains of these portraits reveal underlying structures.In fact, another wall, disclosing a new dimension, appears: that of aesthetic perception.

To be sure, scratches and tears diminish the portrait-function of these faces, but at the same time they intensify observation. They alert one to perceive more than what is actually shown. They evoke all kinds of associations and create new connections with the reality of the observation. Since the Romantic era the arts put great value on the fragmentary.

The fragment can, as representative of a whole, speak more truthfully than reality itself.


The torso-portraits from Caïro, Alexandria, Beijing, Arles invite reflection: about personal identity, about the corrosion of portraiture and about other, non-contextual levels of meaning. Theo Derksen registers these portraits intrusively: as documents and as imaginative works of art, meanwhile allowing the aesthetic function of the fragment to come centre stage.